From Pharm to Arm: Are we sleepwalking through vaccine distribution?

by Jay Marwaha and Quinn Chasan

At a time when public health officials are consumed with the logistics of distributing the COVID-19 vaccines, they must also be thinking about the difficulties they face persuading various pockets of their communities to take it as well. The truth is that Americans are apprehensive about taking the COVID vaccine. Convincing everyone requires educating and informing these groups individually in a way that addresses concerns in a clear and respectful manner.

Leaders of states, counties, and cities that persuade higher proportions of their residents to be vaccinated will reap the benefits – in generating higher GDP, lower unemployment, higher tax revenue, and reduced healthcare cost. Unemployment is a triple whammy for the government: unemployment benefits are paid out, tax revenues are lost, and further use of social safety net programs create additional downstream effects. 

The imperative for a cogent and comprehensive vaccination distribution strategy is clear, and time is in short supply as it takes time to inform, educate, and persuade the public. Access and acceptance are the two key issues at hand. If a group cannot access the vaccine or is unwilling to take it, that becomes a problem for everyone. Now that the vaccine is here, the herculean last mile problem is to get the vaccine into people’s arms.

Educate, Inform, and Persuade

Community apprehension about the vaccines cuts across a wide swath of society. To achieve herd immunity, public health departments must convince 80% of the population to be vaccinated. But there is no single silver bullet – the concerns of one community will be different than the next community, so understanding the nuances of each community’s concerns is necessary. With these insights, public health leaders can meet their residents wherever they may be located.

The US has world-renowned biomedical research, the most advanced vaccine production system, and unparalleled distribution capabilities. Nonetheless, success here requires more: a systematic solution coupled with factual arguments, emotional appeals, and compelling communications that capture the interest of the community, convince people to both take the vaccine and promote it to their neighbors.

Leaders of state and local governments, federal agencies, and large enterprises must understand which segments of the population are reluctant and devise targeted programs to foster education and build trust within those communities. They must become actively involved in promoting strategies that will drive acceptance.

Deliver

Distribution of the COVID vaccines through the last mile to the people that need them most is a challenging problem. Coordinating manufacturers, hospitals, clinics, and workplaces is complex and requires an intimate understanding of populations, facilities, and virus spread in every area. A solid analytics capability with accurate and timely data is critical to understanding where there are gaps. This greatly eases the challenge of ensuring the vaccines are sent to the places where they will have the greatest impact, and additional insights into demographics and socially vulnerable communities will ensure you accomplish your goals in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) manner.

Solution

Syntasa has partnered with Google Cloud to deliver a unique solution for Sentiment Analysis. It is a comprehensive solution to illuminate the locations, demographics, and social groups that are least willing to take the vaccine and determine the areas with the greatest gaps between vaccine availability and spread of the virus. This allows government officials to address the diverse needs of their constituents by making informed fact-based decisions.

The most important challenge America and the world will face in 2021: Pharm to arm success. Syntasa and Google are ready to cross the last mile and help you deliver more pharms to your arms. Reach out on LinkedIn or our website to learn more about the Syntasa and Google solution.

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Jay Marwaha

Founder and CEO of Syntasa

Jay is the Founder and CEO of Syntasa (a Marketing AI Platform loved by Marketers, Data Scientists, and Data Engineers). For the past 12 years, he has been a successful entrepreneur, having started two high-growth companies. Jay also has over 20 years of professional experience in the field of analytics, data science, performance measurement & management, and strategic planning, having worked at several organizations, including American Express, TARP Inc. and Viant Corporation.

Quinn Chasan

Head of Customer Analytics, Google Cloud, Public Sector

Quinn leads partnership connections, strategy, and productization of customer analytical tools that Google uses internally to bring to the public sector. He acts as a Strategic Business Executive for the Cloud Government team in the US. Quinn's responsibilities include helping government agencies integrate their digital tracking programs with their offline data to create a 360-degree view of the citizen, across efforts from opioid treatment & recovery to military recruiting.

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